Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2)
The More You Know, The More You Can Do
Some women want to know if they have a high risk for getting cancer of the breast or ovary. These women usually have close relatives who have had one or both of these cancers. There is a genetic test that can help you find out if you have Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome. It's called the BRCAvantage. Once you know your risk, Dr. Trussell can advise you on what steps to take next, including referrals to specialists in these areas.
The BRCAvantage Test
The BRCAvantage tests look for mutations (changes) in two genes. These genes are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Changes in these genes can lead to hereditary cancer in the breast, ovary, pancreas and prostate. They can lead to hereditary melanoma as well. About 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer each year. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 cause 3-5% of all cancers of the breast and up to 15% of all cancers in the ovary.
How do I know if I should be tested?
- Have had breast cancer before the age of 50
- Have had two separate primary breast cancers at any age
- Have had triple negative (ER, PR and HER2 negative) breast cancer
- Have had ovarian cancer at any age
- Are a man who has had breast cancer
- Have a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
- Have a blood relative with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Are Ashkenazi Jewish
Testing is not recommended for those under 18 years of age.
If I have a BRCA mutation what is the risk someone else in my family will have it?
- identical twin 100%
- parent, sibling or child 50%
- grandparent, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew 25%
- first cousin 12.5%
Insurance and Genetic Testing
Does insurance cover the cost of the test? Call them. Or you can ask a Quest Diagnostics rep to help you by calling 1-866-436-3463. Dr. Trussell is not a provider for any insurance. Her consult fee is $250. Quest Diagnostics will handle billing your insurance for the testing and then send you a bill for the portion not covered by insurance. Quest Diagnostics does offer a payment plan for the testing if you need it.
The Genetic Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) protects you from insurance companies if you test positive. They can not cancel your insurance, increase your premium, claim a pre-existing condition nor can they require a relative to get tested.